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Is Reading in a Restaurant Rude?

Is Reading in Restaurants Rude?

Whenever I'm in a restaurant alone, I pull out a book or magazine. I may or may not read it, but I feel more comfortable looking occupied. So I was surprised to see a commenter on The Telegraph lashing out about a woman engrossed in a book before curtain time at a London play. "I find this even worse than the sight of people reading a book at a public dining table," she said. "Often travelling on business for years I had to dine alone — but I would never have brought a book, or worse, business papers to the table."

She used two Ls in traveling, so she's probably not American. Is this an American thing? Like eating lunch at our desks, do we see nothing wrong with reading in restaurants while the rest of the world gawks in dismay? Or am I in the minority to think it's OK? Cafes aside, does reading in a restaurant ever seem rude to you?

Source: Flickr User an untrained eye

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Sweedalicious Sweedalicious 7 years
Heck, no! I always read in restaurants! There's nothing wrong with it, and anyone who says it is has a problem.
Phorrest99 Phorrest99 7 years
I've been to dinner or lunch alone many times & always have a book or magazine handy! I don't see anything wrong with this.
PrincessLtrain PrincessLtrain 7 years
When I can bring 80 books on vacation with me rather than 3, I'll take technology any day. In fact, now that I have my ereader, I drag it along EVERYWHERE so that I can read as I go...lunch at my desk, waiting for people. I'm not hurting anyone, so why should they care?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
I read in restaurants, if i go by myself. Reading isnt antiquated Spacekatgal, and i am offended you think so! All that technology can NEVER replace that feeling of a book in your hand, the smell of paper, and the joy they bring!
Rosay77 Rosay77 7 years
She's probably just trollin'; and you're trollin' too if you take your anger to the Internet.
kea718 kea718 7 years
I guess if you're at a table with a bunch of people... or on a date or something like that. But if you're dining out alone, what's so bad about it? Whoever wrote this needs to take the pole out of their butt.
Jmartens Jmartens 7 years
I love going to restaurants by myself and reading! Friends think I am weird for it, but oh well.
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
I'd rather someone read quietly than stare at me the whole meal or talk on their cell phone!
esmerb esmerb 7 years
To each their own, but it's certainly not rude!
gLam-shortie gLam-shortie 7 years
I agree with cfp! I am a server at the cheesecake factory, and I have NO problem with guests reading... honestly, it makes my job easier because I don't feel obligated to stand there and talk to her and make her feel "occupied". HOWEVER, please do NOT sit there after you are done eating and keep reading your book/newspaper/whatever! Restaurant is for enjoying a meal and company..., not for lounging around and reading a book! Especially when you are seated at a larger booths/ know how many other guests we can fill at your seat you are sitting at? Please be courteous to the server and other guests waiting, and go to starbucks to read your paper/book after you are finished with your meal. Please and Thank you!!!!
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i don't think it's rude at all, if you're dining solo! with dinner guests, well that would be rude ;)
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
My sister is an auditor and has to travel a lot by herself. She often tells me that reading alone in restaurants makes everyone else uncomfortable! She is quite amused by the reactions. Last year she spent her birthday on an audit so she treated herself to Cheesecake Factory. She spent most of the dinner reading until she told the waitress it was her bday. When they brought out the cake to her the entire restaurant was pitying her. She finds humor in making everyone uncomfortable lol!
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
IIRC pubic dining tables are different from restaurants. Instead of tables of twos or fours etc. they've got actual dining tables (like a mess hall, I guess?) and socializing with the other patrons is part of the experience. Maybe across the pond they prefer people to chat before a play than appearing anti-social? :shrug: I don't think it's rude to whip out a book if you're waiting for people at a restaurant, though. What else can you do? Sit in a daze?
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
I think as long as there is not a large number of people waiting to be seated, and the person isn't just sitting there after he has finished eating, it's ok.
Zivanod Zivanod 7 years
I think that was just a stuck up commenter. There is no problem reading at a table if dining alone. What else are you supposed to do? Stare at the diners closest to you!?!?
cfp cfp 7 years
As a waitress, I have no problem with single customers reading a book while they eat. In fact, as their waitress, I always kind of hope that they've brought something to do. I can understand though not liking when people whip out their laptops and start putting papers all over the table to do work. That kind of bugs me, too....mostly because these people tend to camp out for a long long time, which in my opinion IS rude. Your table at a nice restaurant is not your desk and it's not Starbucks. Don't sit there for four hours working or studying. Reading though is perfectly fine.
tiff58 tiff58 7 years
I agree with both of you. I think it's ridiculous to say that quietly reading, minding your own business, is rude!
boredgourdless boredgourdless 7 years
My thoughts exactly, tlsgirl.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I don't see a problem with it. It's not like you're spreading your papers all over the table, just reading a book to pass the time. What the heck else are you supposed to do if you're alone? Gawk at your fellow diners?
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